Sunday, January 07, 2007

Obama's Time has Come


Barack Obama has opened up to the possibility of a presidential run in 2008. The largest concerns against his running and winning are that he is too inexperienced and that his race may be a divisive issue. I don’t feel that either concern is overly warranted. The general public seems less concerned with experience than character and an ability to convey a message that resonates. What truly prepares one to be president? Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, Obama was a State Senator in Illinois, a professor of Law at the University of Chicago and a prominent civil rights lawyer. He holds a degree in political science from Columbia University and a JD from Harvard. If he can survive the rigors of general election and can convince the general public of the usefulness of this experience to the presidency, he should be fine. Another 10 years in the Senate will only provide his competitors with more votes to mischaracterize and attack him over. Kerry fell victim to this tactic in 2004- being labeled as a flip-flopper based primarily on his votes in the Senate.

The racial issue is definitely an interesting one. On one hand, I doubt that many with racist tendencies will vote for a Democrat anyway- so it may be a non-issue. However, historically the winner of the presidency has to appeal to moderate voters and some may be scared off by Obama’s biracial identity and international heritage. However, I can already see that Obama’s larger message and vision promote his biracialism as an asset rather than a detriment. He has focused on bridging gaps in American culture and strived to deliver a message of pluralism and tolerance. Diversity is a strength of America for Obama and his ethnic background could lend credibility to this message. Concerns over race definitely shouldn’t prevent Obama from at least running. If he believes the time has come for America to embrace his multi-cultural vision than perhaps his time has come as well.

It seems the perfect time to try. Obama, in many ways, is the anti-Bush. Presidential politics are often dialectical, with the electorate voting in reaction to the last regime. Jimmy Carter probably wouldn’t have been elected if it wasn’t for the fact that he stood in such sharp contrast to Nixon’s corruption and Ford’s anti-intellectualism. Obama may get the same bump from his obvious contrasts with Bush. One’s father was president, the other’s was a sheep-herder. One is thoughtful and the other crafts policy based on gut instincts. Obama would certainly offer a contrasting leadership style and vision that could overshadow his race, or even turn it into a positive.


Anonymous Corinna said...

Interesting to know.

10:13 AM  

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